for Veterans and the Public
Keeping your liver healthy - Liver Basics
Here are some things to remember about keeping your liver healthy:
- Alcohol from any type of drink (wine, beer, hard liquor) can cause liver damage. Alcohol can make liver diseases such as hepatitis much worse. If you need help to stop or reduce your drinking, ask your VA provider or visit the SUD website.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. For support, check out the MOVE! Program.
- Control your blood sugars if you have diabetes.
- Keep cholesterol and blood fats within the recommended range. Ask your VA provider for advice on doing this.
- If you inject drugs, make sure you use clean equipment every time. Your VA may provide access to sterile syringes so ask your VA provider for information. If you need help to stop or reduce your drug use, ask your VA provider or visit the SUD website.
- Ask your provider about getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
- Don't share any personal items such as razors or toothbrushes that might have blood on them.
- Follow strict food safety guidelines. Make sure that the water you drink and the food you eat are clean, especially when traveling to other countries. Most cases of hepatitis A infection result from poor cleanliness during food preparation.
- If you take any medications, make sure your provider knows about them. Also tell your provider about any over-the-counter medicines, supplements, and natural or herbal remedies that you use. Certain medicines taken at the same time can cause damage to your liver, even if you can buy them without a prescription.
- Practice safer sex (use condoms, reduce your number of partners).